Old Clothes

Found in a black bag in the loft,

reeking of dashed hopes.

Washed too many times,

to a sadder shade of conviction,

fading towards lethal indifference.

A thrill turned comfort, like slipshod love.

Strange as the faith we lost.

Strange as ourselves in another face,

after a transplant.

Awkward like an embarrassing episode

someone rakes up, from a time which was once

the future of a present that made sense then,

but was spent recklessly on living,

as if that present was

the be all and end all of our lives.

We cannot believe

we used to be such as would wear that.

All those expired selves… If we met them now,

we would try to cross the road,

ignore them, or act a new cool self

as when we run into him or her

after so long, with someone else:

a lot to explain, but not much to say

for what was lived and loved,

and lived through and over,

and over with and forgotten.

Why the keeping then. Why the clinging.

We cannot think

where that whole chunk of history went,

how we turned to exiles, how we

became foreigners to ourselves.

The sleeves are in a dead tongue.

The legs are offensive, absurd clauses

from a screwed, retrograde code of law.

But we slip into them, and they fit,

and we go on breathing.

We stand in them

like half-restored ruins, sites for tourists.

It would be entirely possible to survive like this,

finding a kind of dignity in the lack of it,

finding freedom in renouncing

our own judgement in style,

which is never other than a fad anyway.


Time to return to our riper, updated now,

and to the refilled shells of our current selves,

so we can get on with our forging of more past,

our latest version feeling fully upgraded and evolved,

our taste changing imperceptibly with every breath.


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